New Software Demo

I have actually sold over $22k in software last year alone. That being said this will still be only my 3rd venture into production software so I’m not exactly a huge development company either. I Assisted my brother and his friend in starting a software company some many years ago, and they have really taken off with over 70 employees now. Too bad I didn’t make it a point to be involved with that company lol.

But all great points. I agree, having something that “Just Works” is probably the best selling option. I do plan to have a “Light” version and a paid for version so you can try some features of the paid version for a little while and then decide if it’s worth the purchase. The hardest part is figuring out the correct price point balance when starting off. I never really know where to start.

Currently it only speaks GRBL also, not sure how many other machines may work with that support, need to figure out how many people my user base might be. A few cool features I want to add in though are things like “Fix my G-Code” options that can clean the files up and check for issues. Would also really like to add the GRBL configurations with quick and easy ways to manipulate them like profiles almost.

So far it cleans my laser etching files very well eliminating many commands that are un-needed in the files, and I am using a macro to update the settings in GRBL to switch between laser and CNC. It could stay in the Macro area I suppose but I was thinking a profile may be a better option for those types of things.

Anyways, I’m not trying to be greedy either. I like to share things so we’ll see.

Thanks for the background info. That helps frame the project.

Just as a reference point. A couple years ago I paid $110 for a 3d printer slicer/control program that I perceived was better than the free versions. It’s called Simplify3D if you want to check them out as a reference. At that time it was a very popular program. I’m not sure if it still is or not. I use a closed source printer now. Anyway, they were at about the same point in the evolution of 3d printers as you are with CNC subtractive technology. You could probably get a good reference point for price and what’s works by researching there story.

Im not into this enough to know if GRBL has a very large base and if it’s going to last but my guess is that the SO3 is probably the best platform to start with then expand out from there. Making CNC easy enough for the masses is where the real money is. Look at what the Glowforge laser cutter was able to do by making laser cutting/engraving stupid simple by adding a couple cameras to the system. I think machine vision is the way to open up CNC to the masses. Make it powerful yet easy and they will come and lots of them.

I think there are distinct markets and it’s tempting but dangerous to target more than one. The consumer market is in the wild west stage right now but, I think it has the largest potential for whoever unlocks the easy button. There’s the prosumer market such as Tormach. An, of course, the professional and industrial markets.

Consumers are overwhelmed by too many features until they get some experience. Can you offer a solution that a novice isn’t overwhelmied by yet offers a lot of power? Are you after the first time CNC’r? If so, have you let first timers use your software and observed where they get stuck or frustrated? What you are really selling is an experience. So far no one has put out a software that provides a great experience for the first-timer. Are you testing with novices to fix areas where they stumble?

I guess I’m assuming you are targeting beginners since you are in this forum. Who is your target market?

Not my area of expertise, but as far as figuring out pricing goes, how do you think it would work to do something like have 20 copies available at, say, $20, then another 20 at each $10 price point above that up to say, $100. That could give you a sense of the relative demand at various price points, then with that in hand, you could set the going price. I imagine seeing something like the $20 being gone instantly, the $30 ones just about as fast, then the $40 ones taking a little longer, etc. with very few takers by the time only the $90 and $100 ones are left. Obviously, lower priced ones are preferred by buyers, but something like this might give you a sense of the demand curve and you could price accordingly. Anyway, just a (somehat muddled) thought.

On the other hand, depending on how much support you plan on offering (which could be quite expensive), since it’s an electronic product presumably electronically deliverd, there’s little marginal cost to you for each sale you make. If it’s a really good product and you sell it at a really attractive price (one that makes it a no-brainer to buy), then the market could be yours.

Again, just some random microeconomic musings…

Thanks all for the replies. I was thinking in the range of $25.00 to be honest. Yes it’s more then 10 or 20 but much less then 50. As soon as I get a few things changed and worked over so to speak I’ll start an offering of a demo version or lite version.

I actually have Simplify 3D and it has been a great addition. I didn’t feel like spending the $100+ for it, but it turned out to be a fair investment. I still use my 3D printer so it has been great. They just recently updated it again and I have no complaints. I agree I need to scale a bit across the novice / expert ranges, that is one reason I need to re-vamp the software a bit before release. Right now it is both, but I need to make it Novice first and then allow experts to go deeper so I m trying to figure out the best way to make this happen before I can get it public ready.

When I release, I want to feel fairly confident it is a go-to program for actually talking to the machine and making homing simple, machine movement simple and the whole feel of it doing what you thought it should be able to do easier. Eliminate some workflows all together like finding a center of a circle and of 2 points etc.

If it just does the absolute basics better than Carbide Motion I would pay $25. If it does more without making it complicated then I would pay more. I’ve never sold software but I know that sometimes too low of a price can hurt sales. I know that’s true for things like antivirus or security software. I don’t know if it applies to makerware or not. I can’t wait to give it a try though. Some of the features sound really awesome.

Some people might find it more attractive if it’s in the Microsoft App Store.

As a point of reference for you, I developed a sign pricing software some years ago. It started of as an Excel spreadsheet (which I did sell for a modest price, but more than you are talking about now). I then took that foundation and built another version based on MS Access database. It was bundled with another program that performed the install and security features to make it a standalone program (so users did not need to buy MS Access). After a couple years of selling that, I then hired an MS Access developer to help me take it to the next level where my own skills were lacking. After a few years of that along with supporting it and creating some updates, I have since sold that in it’s entirety to another developer. This was marketed to the small to medium sized sign making shops (say 1-5 employees or so).

One difference I see in this application is that these CNCs are largely marketed to the hobbyist where people are not making money with them. I, on the other hand, fully intend to make money with it so am inclined to pay more for a solid solution. However, I am not ready to go full out and purchase an industrial quality machine as my use does not yet justify that level of expense. So, the desktop CNC is a very good introduction for my intended application.